Tune Tutor



The Morning Star

This is the reel "The Morning Star" played on the M&E Rudall & Rose model flute by Michael Cronnolly.

Here is the tune:

Here is the reel with no ornamentation or variation at all:  [the basic tune]

Here is the reel with cuts only:  [reel with cuts]

Here is the full reel with cuts, rolls, and rhythmic variations:  [the reel in session style]

And here is a very slow version so that you can hear precisely how the ornamentation is done:  [the slow version]

Off to California

This is the hornpipe "Off to California," played on the Susato SB D tunable whistle.

Here is the tune:

Note that although a hornpipe is notated with straight 8th notes, it is played with a definite swing, almost but not quite a dotted eighth / sixteenth feel.

Here is the plain hornpipe:  [the plain tune]

Here I play it with some cuts:  [tune with cuts]

Here I play it with cuts and rolls:  [tune in full session style]

And here is a very slow version so you can hear how the ornaments are done.  Note the long rolls are also in swung rhythm.  [slow tune]

The Miller's Maggot

This is the single jig "Miller's Maggot" played on a Generation D whistle.

If you'd like to see the "dots," here  they are:

The Basic Tune

Here I play the tune at a comfortable session tempo, with no ornamentation at all.

[The Plain Tune]

This actually works pretty well for this tune; single jigs don't require a lot of ornamentation, especially when you are playing in a session.

One simple way to add some lift to the tune is with the ornament known as a "cut," which is a higher note played so briefly that it sounds only as a chirping "blip."  The most important thing about cuts is they take no time away from any note; rather than being a true note themselves, they are an articulation, like tonguing.

Here's what the tune sounds like with cuts:  [With Cuts].

Another common ornament is a roll, where you subdivide a longer note with first a cut and then a "strike," which is another way to produce a "blip" articulation by "bouncing" a finger or fingers off of a lower note.  There are two common forms, a long roll, which is a way to divide a dotted-quarter-note into three eighth notes by playing note-cut-note-strike-note, and a short roll, which divides a quarter note into two eighth notes by playing cut-note-strike-note.

Here's the tune with cuts and some rolls:  [With Rolls].

And so you can hear better what's happening, here's the same thing played at a much slower tempo:  [Slow Version].

The Cow That Ate the Blanket

This is the double jig "The Cow that Ate the Blanket," also known as "The Cat that Ate the Candle."  The whistle is a Walton's Guinness which has had the blade replaced.

If you'd like the "dots," here ya go:

Here's the tune at a normal session tempo:  [Just the Tune]

Here's the tune with cuts, which give the tune quite a bit of lift:  [The tune with cuts]

Here's the tune with cuts and rolls:  [with cuts and rolls]

Finally, here's the same thing played at a much slower tempo, once through the A part, then once through the B part: [slow version]

Oh! the Britches Full of Stitches

This is the polka "Oh! the Britches Full of Stitches" played on a blue-top nickel Generation whistle.

Here are the "dots" for this one:

Here is the tune at a normal session tempo:  [the plain tune]

Here's the tune with cuts in place:  [tune with cuts]

Here's the full version of the tune with cuts, taps, rolls, and melodic variations: [the tune in full session style]

Here's one time through the full version very slow so you can hear how the ornaments come together:  [the slow tune]